An Albuquerque Legend on Route 66….
First visit: March 25, 2011
When you hear the word “steakhouse,” you are likely conditioned to think about those horrid chains that serve subpar meat made edible by cruel treatment with enzymes (usually papaya) that serve as meat tenderizer. I call them texture mushers. You know the places — Outback, Lone Star, Ponderosa, and others of their ilk. Junk. Or you might think of the expense-account joints like Ruths Chris, Morton’s, and other superyuppie joints where you can get a really good piece of beef for upwards of $75 per plate (salad extra, of course). These don’t exist in ABQ.
What to do then when you want the best steaks in ABQ at reasonable prices? Get yourself over to the left edge of Central, just beyond the river, walk through the back of the liquor store, sashay up to the bar for a cold longneck, and if you’re lucky you’ll be seated just about as soon as you slug down the last drop. Get another one. If you are expecting a beer and meat and potatos place, you have just found one fashioned by the right hand of The Creator.
Founded in 1970 by Michael Katsaros and now managed by George Katsaros and Louis Katsaros, this place is a throwback to a gentler and kinder era before yuppies were invented (actually, they were around then but didn’t know that they were yuppies). Real people with trencherman’s appetites come here for some of the finest meat-and-potato meals in the Duke City area. The decor is pure ’60s kitsch — somewhat dark with scads of neon beer signs casting their eerie come-ons throughout the room. Just enough light to let you leave your miner’s helmet in your pickup.
And yeah, the food is fantastic. Steaks (porterhouse, ribeye, strip, and more) are expertly chargrilled to exactly your specification (degrees of doneness are explained on the menu in case you didn’t already know). My 14-oz ribeye was perfectly medium rare (see my photo) and was the tastiest hunk of beef I have had outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. Juicy and fork tender. Served with fantastic fries, this meal was among the very best of any kind I have had here. Non-yuppie salads were pretty good, too — mostly iceberg with a delicious tangy Greek house dressing. Jane had a slab of prime rib that looked and tasted fabulous (her words, as she came up for air). Her baked potato was perfectly done.
All the steaks are hand cut and lovingly grilled by a master. You probably won’t find their equal anyplace around here. Friends tell me that the Green Chile Cheeseburger is tops. And, as a bonus for fowl freaks and non-red-meat-eaters, grilled chicken looked great. The pork souvlaki lives up to the owners’ Greek heritage.
If you are not convinced yet and need independent verification, you need to watch Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives broadcast on Youtube (http://tinyurl.com/4s2mjq3). He knows stuff.
Jane and I have finally found a place where we can satisfy our occasional beef craving among our kind of people. Now if only the waitresses would call me “Hon” like they did in Bawmer Murlin….
Monte Carlo Steak House
3916 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87105
View the menu